West Ham 2-3 Liverpool Match Report
Liverpool have had a busy week with a win last Saturday followed by a trip to Italy in the Europa League where they could not fly home until the Friday, before travelling down to London for a testing fixture against West Ham. The Hammers had a week to prepare for the match after a tremendous win against Chelsea last weekend. But Liverpool are in confident mood too after winning two games in a week.
Liverpool had to find goals from somewhere else against West Ham with Luis Suarez serving a one match suspension after picking up his 5th booking of the season last weekend against Southampton. Brendan Rodgers made 5 changes to the side which beat Udinese on Thursday night. Reina kept goal behind Johnson at right back with Skrtel and Agger in the middle of defence, and Enrique at left back. Sterling was selected on the left of midfield with Lucas, Allen and Gerrard in the middle and Downing on the right of midfield. Jonjo Shelvey was selected as the man to lead the line up front.
Liverpool started the match well and looked to establish their passing game from the first whistle with Glen Johnson in particular threatening down the right, and it was the England right back that fired Liverpool in front in the 10th minute with a goal of the season contender from the edge of the Hammers’ penalty area.
Sterling had two chances to double Liverpool’s lead the first chance he shot wide after Gerrard’s shot was cleared to his feet. Moments later Johnson cut in from the right before rolling the ball to the youngster, but Sterling’s low drive was just off target.
But Liverpool had to make an early change when Enrique had to be replaced by former Hammer Joe Cole, with Stewart Downing switching to left back. This change upset Liverpool’s positive start to the match and the home side started to dominate and put Liverpool under pressure.
West Ham’s pressure told 9 minutes before the break when they were awarded a penalty after Joe Allen was adjudged to have handled Demel’s powerfully hit shot from the edge of the box. Referee Lee Probert deemed the block to be intentional before Noble stepped up to coolly convert the penalty.
The home side were buoyed by this goal and put Liverpool under severe pressure and Matthew Taylor headed high and wide with a great chance.
But the Hammers did take the lead when the unlucky Gerrard headed past Reina from another tremendous delivery from Jarvis.
Shelvey shot wide on the stroke of half time after being picked out by Downing and Liverpool went into the dressing room with it all to do in the second half.
Sterling came close to levelling when his effort was tipped over by Jaaskelainen as Liverpool tried to get back into the match. Liverpool were struggling to create chances against a well organised West Ham defence, but Shelvey flashed a header wide with 20 minutes to go, before Brendan Rodgers brought on Jordan Henderson for Lucas.
The home side were dealt a blow when the influential Diame suffered a serious looking leg injury and had to be replaced by James Tomkins.
With Liverpool not looking like breaking the West Ham defence it was another former Hammer Joe Cole who levelled things up when he smashed low into the corner after being played in by Sterling, but like Johnson, Cole refused to celebrate in respect to his former team.
The game was finely balanced now with both teams looking for a winner and Liverpool grabbed the lead again with 12 minutes to go when Henderson sent in a dangerous low cross which Shelvey and Collins competed for only for the ball to skew off the West Ham defender and loop over the helpless Jaaskelainen and into the net.
Sterling almost broke away to score another as West Ham threw the proverbial kitchen sink at Liverpool and Jonjo Shelvey should have been awarded a penalty late on after tricking his way into the box only to be tripped in the box.
Liverpool held out for the additional 5 minutes of stoppage time to secure a very important win.
As expected Shelvey deputised for the absent Suarez and he was superb running himself into the ground. A good start to the match and Glen Johnson was running riot in the early stages capped by a brilliant goal. West Ham came into the match and put Liverpool under extreme pressure which Skrtel and Agger did superbly to combat. But West Ham got a couple of lucky breaks, the first was a disgrace of a penalty by referee Proben before Gerrard unluckily headed past Reina. Great spirit shown in the second half by Liverpool to come back and Joe Cole scored a great goal from a great pass from the impressive Sterling. A touch of luck for the winner but Liverpool deserved it and Shelvey should have been given a penalty after being brought down late on. A brilliant win from Liverpool and this win will give great confidence.